Skip To Content
Breaking News

Obama: ‘No Basis’ to Accusations US Orchestrated UN Vote

(JTA) — Accusations that the United States orchestrated last month’s U.N. Security Council anti-settlements resolution have no basis in fact, President Barack Obama said.

In one of his final interviews as president, Obama spoke to Ilana Dayan, the reporter for Israel’s Channel 2, who has interviewed him in the past. The interview is to be broadcast Tuesday, but Channel 2 teased a portion on Monday.

Dayan asked Obama about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that the U.S. abstention allowing through the Security Council resolution was “shameful” and about Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer’s claim that there was evidence that the Obama administration orchestrated it.

“I’ll be honest with you, that kind of hyperbole, those kind of statements don’t have basis in fact,” Obama said. “They may work well with respect to deflecting attention from the problem of settlements, they may play well with Bibi’s political base as well as the Republican base here in the United States, but they don’t match up with the facts.”

U.S. officials said they could not vote for the resolution, advanced by four countries led by New Zealand, because it was imbalanced and because the United Nations itself is an inherently antagonist forum to Israel. However, they said they could not vote against it – which would have triggered an automatic veto — because they agreed with its premise that settlements were undercutting prospects for peace and a two-state solution. The officials adamantly denied they led the effort to advance it.

President-elect Donald Trump objected to the resolution and tried to thwart it. It was the first resolution opposed by Israel that the Obama administration allowed through.

Obama also rejected criticism that he should not have allowed through a dramatic Security Council resolution in the last month of his presidency.

“The fact of the matter is that I’m president until Jan. 20 and I have an obligation to do what I think is right,” he said.

Dayan, describing the full interview, quoted Obama as saying that he was always a friend to Netanyahu, but that Netanyahu would not recognize his friendship.

In the clip that appeared on the Channel 2 website, she asked Obama if he has any more surprises in store for Israel, or will Netanyahu be able to “sleep well at night” until Jan. 20, when Trump assumes the presidency.

Obama, in an apparent allusion to Trump’s reputation for being unpredictable, replied: “There’s an interesting question as to whether he’ll sleep better after Jan. 20.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.